Michigan State at Ohio State: What to know about Saturday’s game

Who: No. 7 Michigan State at No. 4 Ohio State

When: 12 p.m., Saturday

Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

TV/Radio: ABC/1410

Series history: Ohio State leads 34-15, including a 16-9 record in Columbus. The Spartans won three of five games from 2011-15, but Ohio State has won the last five.

Last game: Justin Fields threw for 199 yards and ran for 104 more as the Buckeyes beat the Spartans 52-12 last season despite being short-handed because of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing. Trey Sermon ran for 112 yards, and C.J. Stroud had a 48-yard touchdown run for the Buckeyes.

Coaches: Ohio State’s Ryan Day is 32-3 in three seasons, including 22–0 in the Big Ten. Mel Tucker is 11-6 in two years at Michigan State and 16-13 overall as a head coach.

Ohio State notes: Ohio State leads the nation in scoring offense (46.3 points per game), total offense (550.4 yards/game), touchdowns scored (59) and yards per play (8.03)… Stroud ranks in the top five nationally in quarterback efficiency (fifth, 179.4), touchdown passes (fifth, 30) and yards per attempt (fifth, 9.8)… Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave rank second, fourth and eighth in the Big Ten, respectively, in receiving yards per game. Olave is tied for the national lead with 11 TD receptions while Wilson is eighth with nine… Four Buckeyes are from the state of Michigan: Cam Martinez (Muskegon), Cayden Saunders (Northville), Bradley Robinson (Troy Athens) and Grant Toutant (Warren De La Salle).

Michigan State notes: Tucker is a Cleveland native and spent four seasons as an Ohio State assistant for Jim Tressel. He coached defensive backs for the Buckeyes from 2001-03 and co-defensive coordinator in ‘04… Michigan State has defeated a top five Ohio State team five times, including defeating a No. 1-ranked Ohio State team three times: in 1974 (16-13), 1998 (28-24) and 2015 (17-14)… The Spartans stopped Ohio State’s record 30-game Big Ten winning streak in 2015… Their three wins over the Buckeyes since 2011 are the most of any team in the Big Ten… Kenneth Walker III has led the nation in rushing all but one week this season and is averaging 147.3 yards per game… He also leads the FBS in total rushing yards (1,473), rushing touchdowns (17), yards after contact (1,068), 20-plus yard carries (19) and 10-plus yard carries (40)… Senior captain Xavier Henderson (Pickerington) is one of 18 Spartans from Ohio.

Quoted: Tucker on the game: “You gotta prepare during the week for a 15-round fight. Scared money doesn’t win. You gotta play to win, and then you have to have competitive greatness. Be at your best when your best is needed, and your good players need to play good.”

Next game: The Buckeyes will play at Michigan at noon next Saturday. Michigan State will return home to play Penn State.

Prediction: Ohio State 49, Michigan State 31

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